Friday, 14 January 2005

Hydrogen again

Steven Taylor has a link to a story from Iceland about the use of hydrogen fuel cells, similar to what I mentioned earlier. If my earlier post is correct, though it is very optimistic, the US could be well ahead of other countries in adopting hydrogen, at least in cars.

Of course, “Reuters” couldn’t avoid a gratuitous swipe at President Bush, though they did mention the emmission of water and the problems it might cause in Iceland:

Washington says new technologies like hydrogen are a better long-term way to cut pollution and combat global warming than the U.N.‘s 128-nation Kyoto protocol.

Bush dismayed even U.S. allies by pulling out of Kyoto in 2001. Kyoto seeks to rein in emissions of heat-trapping gases, mainly released by burning oil and gas in factories, cars and power plants.


Among other problems, some scientists say the atmosphere might simply become too cloudy in a hydrogen economy, emitting vast amounts of water vapor, perhaps reflecting sunlight back to space or trapping it and warming the globe.


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That last comment about water vapor trips my BS trigger.

A lot of the advantage of biofuels over oil is supposed to be their “carbon-neutral” properties; creating the fuel supposedly removes as much carbon dioxide from the air as burning them gives back. Hydrogen is supposed to work the same way, except with water instead of carbon dioxide. It’s not like we’ve got huge hydrogen mines or wells that we’re tapping as a fuel source.

If that’s true, then the comment about water vapor is bogus, since we’re not adding water into the system.

Now, it could be that we do have hydrogen mines or wells in some form (methane deposits?) that would result in a net increase of water in the system. But it seems to me more likely that this is just another example of journalistic sloppiness. Certainly, I’d like to get the names of those “scientists” and perhaps a more complete quote of what they actually said.

[Permalink] 2. Barbara Skolaut wrote @ Sat, 15 Jan 2005, 6:09 pm CST:

“With current technology, burning oil to make hydrogen to run a bus produces more pollution than simply running the bus on oil.”

That ought to give the enviro-nuts a schizo-headache.

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